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Hamilton takes Silverstone pole despite Q3 scare


Ahead of today's qualifying session, the air temperature is 20 degrees C, whilst the track temperature is 25 degrees. There remains a question mark over the weather, for whilst it has brightened up since FP3 there remain many worrying clouds in the distance.

Preparations for this afternoon have been severely compromised not only by the weather earlier, which saw the early stages of FP3 run on Inters, but also Marcus Ericsson's crash which caused a red flag period that left only five minutes of running at the very end.

And while that five minutes was enough for the Mercedes duo to re-establish the status quo, it was also enough for Sebastian Vettel to suffer a gearbox issue.

While the German had taken advantage of his Austria DNF to fit a new gearbox this morning without penalty, the new gearbox required for him to continue means that for the second successive he takes a five place grid penalty.

Also, assuming he and his car are given the all-clear to participate, Ericsson will also take a five-place hit as he too requires a new gearbox following that high impact crash earlier.

Weather and the failure to get any significant low-fuel running aside, the order behind the all-conquering Mercedes appears to be Red Bull, Ferrari and Williams, though the reliability of the SF16-H puts that in doubt.

Haas has also looked good all weekend, while McLaren has clearly made a step forward.

Ten minutes before the start of the session, Sauber tweets: "We are still awaiting news from the hospital. Only Felipe will participate in Quali".

The lights go green and Wehrlein leads the way. He is followed by Gutierrez, Grosjean, Palmer, Magnussen and the Mercedes duo.

More and more drivers head out, all on softs bar the Force India duo who are on hards. That said, Perez and Hulkenberg head straight back to the pits.

Wehrlein gets proceedings underway with a 34.298, but of the first wave it is Rosberg who goes quickest, the German posting a 30.724. Hamilton posts 30.739.

Palmer, who goes ninth has his time deleted after he runs wide in T9 (Copse).

Grosjean goes third (33.082), ahead of Gutierrez, Haryanto and Magnussen , but these are all demoted when Verstappen posts 31.505 to go third and Ricciardo takes fourth with a 31.684.

Magnussen is the second driver to have his time deleted - what is it with these Renault guys?

A 31.606 sees Vettel go fourth, 0.882s off Rosberg's pace.

Button goes eighth but is immediately demoted by his McLaren teammate who posts 32.281.

Raikkonen goes fourth with a 31.326, thereby leapfrogging his teammate.

With five minutes remaining, Haryanto, Wehrlein, Gutierrez, Magnussen and Nasr comprise the drop zone, with Grosjean and Palmer hovering.

Perez goes 12th with a 32.336, thereby demoting Magnussen to the dreaded drop zone.

Nasr has a nasty twitch in Stowe - where his teammate came to grief - the Sauber caught out by the crosswinds.

Gutierrez improves to tenth with a 32.237, the Mexican thereby making the cut.

Magnussen also improves, the Dane posting 32.729, but did he exceed the track limits of a couple of corners.

A late, late improvement for Kvyat drops Button into the drop zone, the Briton having only completed 3 laps and spent much of the session in his garage. Disaster for the local hero.

Quickest was Rosberg, ahead of Hamilton, Verstappen, Raikkonen, Vettel, Ricciardo, Bottas, Sainz, Massa and Gutierrez.

We lose Button, Palmer, Haryanto, Wehrlein, Nasr and Ericsson.

That said, Button runs back to the McLaren garage and climbs in to his car, indicating that there is an investigation into Magnussen's lap.

TV replays certainly show at least two misdemeanours by Magnussen but there is no official word from the stewards, who include Nigel Mansell.

The lights go green for Q2 and the Mercedes duo are first out, Rosberg leading the way. Magnussen and Button are both in their cars... but which one has been eliminated.

With no official word, Button climbs from his car.

Back on track Rosberg posts a blistering 29.970, but moments later Hamilton sets an even more blistering 29.243.

"Box, box, box," Hamilton is told, "this is race set, look after them."

Verstappen goes third, albeit 1.454s off the pace, teammate Ricciardo going fourth (31.319) moments later.

Bottas goes fifth with a 31.478, ahead of Hulkenberg and Sainz as Raikkonen spins at T17, the Finn having done his tyres no favours.

Perez complains that his pit limiter is not slowing him down.

Vettel splits the Red Bulls with a 30.915, but the German is 1.6s off Hamilton's best.

As Vettel heads back to his garage, Raikkonen, who, along with Magnussen, has yet to post a time, heads out.

Though he appears safe, Vettel heads out again. Meanwhile, another mistake by Raikkonen who locks-up and runs wide in T3. Arrivabene is not impressed. Question is, does the Finn have enough fuel for another flying lap?

Vettel posts PBs in all three sectors, but remains fourth, 1.468s off the pace. Moments later, Raikkonen posts 31.385 to go sixth.

Hulkenberg remains eighth whilst a might effort sees Alonso go ninth.

A late improvement for Perez also but when Sainz posts 31.708 to go eighth it drops the Mexican back into 'the zone'.

Another big surprise is that Massa fails to make the cut.

Quickest is Hamilton, ahead of Rosberg, Verstappen, Vettel, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Bottas, Sainz, Alonso and Hulkenberg.

We lose Perez, Massa, Grosjean, Gutierrez, Kvyat and Magnussen.

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1. Posted by mickl, 09/07/2016 20:47

"thank god for consistency by the stewards in scrubbing lap times for going out of track limits....NOT"

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